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Gerald Driggers, Monday, 9-21-15 September 22, 2015

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Gerald Driggers, Monday, 9-21-15


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Guest: Gerald Driggers. Topics: Artificial gravity & his Space Review Article “Reduced Gravity: The 400-kilogram gorilla in the room.” Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.


We welcomed back Gerald Driggers to discuss his August 10, 2015 Space Review article, “Reduced Gravity: The 400-kilogram gorilla in the room.” You can read & download this article at www.thespacereview.com/article/2802/1. During the first segment of our 1 hour 42 minute discussion, Gerald talked about the old concept to put a centrifuge on the ISS but of course that never happened. Much of the first segment our guest and listeners lamented the lack of attention to mitigating problems caused by microgravity by developing some form of artificial gravity as the standard mitigation tool. Gerald referenced several studies in support of the need for artificial gravity, including one only a year or so old. Listeners asked him about minimizing travel time to a destination, say Mars, as a way of mitigating microgravity issues. We talked about that but Gerald pointed out that at the destination you would still be in a less than 1 G earth gravity environment so what then? I asked Gerald if being stuck in LEO for decades might have contributed to the lack of NASA progress in this area. Kelly sent in an email asking several things, including a question about spin rates. Kelly also wanted to know why artificial gravity had been ignored for so long, suggesting the possibility that advocacy groups disregard it. I did not support Kelly’s contention as I have done many Space Show programs with advocates pushing for artificial gravity and even coming up with their own plans on how to achieve it. Gerald was asked about tethers. His response triggered a lengthy email from Joe Carroll on the subject which I will post for Joe on the blog for this program, then Joe called the show in the second segment. Gerald was asked about artificial gravity work going on in other countries & with other government space agencies. He also talked about the need to really just test for Mars and lunar gravity given the relationship of these numbers throughout our solar system to other planets and moons.


In the second segment, Gerald talked about his science fiction book series, “Earth Mars Chronicles” plus the long scale settlement of Mars. At this point Joe Carroll called to talk about his email, tethers, and the artificial gravity issue. Don’t miss the fine discussion with Joe and Gerald they brought up many facts about the situation, the 2010 National Space Policy and more. Joe referenced the Fresno Underground Gardens as a possible example of underground living which he said would be necessary due to radiation. There would be no on the surface living. He also talked about the need for a colony to expand internally and the challenges in setting up an ecosystem on another planetary body. Joe introduced us to other issues such as the need for a gut bacteria study on the ISS and the differences between genders in reduced gravity though that information is not gathered. Given that Gerald described himself as a Mars guy, not a Moon guy, I told him about the New York Times Op-Ed that appeared today, “Let’s Not Move to Mars” by Ed Regis. You can read the article at www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/opinion/lets-not-move-to-mars.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0. If you do read it and I hope you do, make sure to read the comments as well. Dr. Doug was the next caller. Doug and Gerald also had an interesting discussion as Doug suggested there was no need to do artificial gravity experiments in LEO, instead go directly to the Moon and do them there. This of course presumes we are going to the Moon. I talked with Doug about this as I think returning to the Moon, as much as I would like to see it happen, is still an unsupported assumption, especially if we are looking for the government to do it. This opened up a discussion about the private sector with Gerald saying he thought progress was more likely coming from the private sector than NASA regarding the issues talked about today. I pointed out that if we had private Bigelow space stations and somewhat affordable launch, then we might see this type of research undertaken if it was in the interest of a company to do so. Doug and Gerald continued their discussion which you don’t want to miss. As the show was ending, Gerald told us about his new e-book coming out on Kindle for just 99 cents on October 1, “Martian Sniper.” From what he said about it, it sounds like a winner so be sure to download and read it.


Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Mr. Driggers through me or his website, http://earth-mars.com.





1. J Fincannon - October 7, 2015

I was wondering if some substitute to gravity can be used such as magnetism. I cannot forget the “floating” frog which floated by diamagnetism. http://www.physics.org/facts/frog-human-levitation.asp
Well, rather than have the magnets lift against gravity they would be pushing down. The article claims “None of the frogs that have taken part in the diamagnetic levitation experiments have experienced any adverse effects”. More testing needed to see if all the effects replace those of gravity. But in my mind it seems to permit various G level testing. Am I wrong?

2. Joe from Houston - September 23, 2015

Why do we send astronauts to the ISS? To replace bone depleted astronauts with fresh ones to conduct microgravity experiments that not many people are familiar with. We do this in a staggered manner. Instead of launching every 6 months to replace the crew, we instead replace just a few every 3 months. That way, we pay for 4 launches instead of 2 each year. We justify it by saying it is safer that way. In reality, part of NASA’s budget is spent sending astronauts and supplies to the ISS via the Russians. How much is that? About $675M/year. That is for about 10 launches per year. Why? Because that is how things have evolved over time. NASA’s budget is shrinking yet Russia’s space business is growing exponentially. This is going to pop someday and SpaceX is going to take the helm. SpaceX is planning to dramatically reduce this cost and take jobs from Russians and give them back to Americans where they belong.

If we had AG, we wouldn’t need to launch 10 rockets a year to the ISS. We could reduce that cost by a factor of 10 as well as the ground support cost to plan, monitor, and verify the Russians are doing it right. But the ISS is not about operating it cheaply. It is about jobs. Lots and lots of them. Space is a hole in the sky through which we pour money that is deposited in family’s bank accounts for goods and services rendered for the government.

Quick! Name one thing discovered on the ISS. I’m waiting. What if we had a human centrifuge up there for 15 years. Don’t you think by now we would have discovered the artificial gravity recipe to stop bone loss well enough to send astronauts to Mars and back? NO! AG wasn’t pursued because it cost too much. The money is better spent on lots and lots of rockets taking and returning bone depleted astronauts to and from the ISS. That is where the money is at. That is why AG is not interesting to the money spenders. It is their highest and perhaps only priority to do business with Russians to show the world that we can work together instead of suspect each other of unacceptable behavior. The money is spent to prove to each other that they are behaving in an acceptable manner. That is what government money is. It is used to control other governments. Who really cares about exploring new worlds? The money spenders certainly do not because there are no governments to control on other planets.

3. B John - September 23, 2015

It seems to me that the plan for human space flight, the plan that will really happen, is to fly to the moons of Mars during the close conjunction in 2033. And to do it in microgravity all the way. Preparing it by using the ISS to study up to 2½ years in microgravity. Mitigating those problems, progress seems to be made. After 6 months, astronauts are actually still fit for fight, NASA’s ISS science chief has said on the show. The decision makers seem to go down that road.

Concerning tethers for simulated gravity, why not airbeams? Like a hose which is made stiff by high gas pressure. A frequent caller and guest to the Show (I’m sorry I don’t keep track of who’s who) has suggested it and I think it sounds great for this application. I think it is the best way to travel. But to the Moon and Mars microgravity might be good enough. And that’s kind of the list of travel targets considered. So simulated gravity is maybe an issue for future generations to consider. It is maybe not necessary for what we need to do in our lifetime.

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